Search by Keyword(s):  
Search by Scripture:   [Today's Comments]
Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Friday, January 23, 2015, Yujin wrote,

I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay (Genesis 45:4-9).

Notice that in just a matter of a handful of verses, Joseph credits God four times with his present high position, enabling him to save Israel from the great famine. Joseph does not credit luck. He does not condemn his brothers. He simply acknowledges God's sovereignty in achieving His good purposes.

This has been Joseph's continual testimony in spite of every adversity. When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, he tells her, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9). When Pharaoh credits Joseph with the ability to interpret dreams, Joseph corrects him: "I cannot do it... but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." (Genesis 41:16). Even later, after Jacob's death, when the brothers use a ruse to try to keep Joseph from exacting revenge against them, he again tells them: 

Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:19-20).

Joseph repeatedly gives credit to God for every good turn in his life. Is this not in keeping with the testimony of James, who wrote,

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

Every good thing comes from God. In fact, Moses warned the Israelites not to forget to acknowledge the LORD when they came into the Promised Land:

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (Deuteronomy8:17-18).

Friends, we too need to remember to always acknowledge the Lord for any good in our lives. So Peter writes,

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praisedthrough Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:11).

Paul also writes,

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Again, we read in the Proverbs 3:6,

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths (NKJV).

Let us then unabashedly acknowledge the Lord always and in everything, for we know that every good comes from Him, who creates us, saves us, and daily sustains us by His grace. 

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Friday, January 24, 2014, Stephen wrote,

What a drama it is! Even superbly better than all Korean dramas combined! Joseph finally reveals his true identity to his brothers after all and "wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it." I just love the story. As I was reading it this morning, I noticed something that I haven't in the past, the attitude of Judah who was one of accomplices to plan to kill Joseph but ended up selling him to the Ishmaelites. When Benjamin is accused of stealing Joseph's silver cup for drinking and also for divination, He says that he will become a slave for his brother! What a transformation in his attitude toward his father Jacob's another favorite! When we are left alone without God's grace and mercy, we would be no different from Judah who was a slave of his own hatred and jealousy and sold his own brother, but the transformation warranted by Holy Spirit surely comes after our repentance of our sins! Truly good is our Lord who calls us, justifies us, and sanctifies us albeit undeserving!

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Friday, January 24, 2014 (Last Updated on 1/23/2015), Yujin wrote,

Judah said to his father Israel, “Send the lad with me and we will arise and go,that we may live and not die, we as well as you and our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever (Genesis 43:8-9).

Notice that on this second journey to Egypt Reuben does not take the lead.

Remember that on the first journey to Egypt, Reuben was the spokesman before Joseph. When Simeon was taken hostage to prove the honesty of the brothers, Jacob would not let them take Benjamin to Joseph, which was the condition of Simeon's release. At the time Reuben said that if he did not return with Benjamin, Jacob could put Reuben's two sons to death. This logic did not move Jacob to agree. 

Now, the food from the first journey has run out. Reuben is nowhere to be found. His name is not even mentioned in the events surrounding the return to Egypt. Judah steps up and takes the lead. Unlike Reuben, who quite foolishly offered up his own sons, as if this would appease Jacob, Judah simply says that he will forever accept the blame if he does not return with Benjamin. But he insists that he must take Benjamin for them all to survive.

Judah is also the spokesman before Joseph. When Benjamin stands accused of theft before Joseph, Judah offers himself up to take Benjamin's place for the punishment. Again, in Reuben's case, he did not offer himself but Simeon was left behind to be the hostage. 

Judah demonstrates clearer insight and better leadership than Reuben. Thus, when Jacob was near his death and it came time for him to pronounce final blessings upon his sons, Joseph and Judah receive the greatest blessings. Over their brothers, these two clearly shined in both their character and leadership. 

Both of them serve as types for Christ. Both suffered for the benefit of others: Joseph, as a slave and in prison and Judah, in his willingness to sacrifice himself for Benjamin. Jesus Christ offered Himself up for our sins and experienced the full punishment that we deserved. 

Friends, as we praise the Lord for His great sacrifice for us, something that we could not have done for ourselves even if we chose to do it, let us also learn to follow in His steps, as we see in the examples of Joseph and Judah.

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Wednesday, May 1, 2013, Fernando wrote,

Genesis 43
32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.

The Hebrews were the children of Eber, posterity of Shem. Shem was blessed by Noah to be served by Canaan, and Japheth, his younger brother, was to dwell in Shem's tents. Ham, the father of many African people (Cush/Ethiopia, Egypt, Put/Lybia, Canaan); he did not get mentioned in the Noah blessing.

Perhaps it is an abomination because of some connection to their past. Perhaps as a brotherly respect the sons of Ham have a kind of united resentment. The sons of Eber, being of Shem, are to be above the posterity of Japheth and Ham, especially of Canaan. Either a disdain of jealousy, or an apprehension in respect of the blessing either way, this rule to not eat with Hebrews was interesting to me.

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Thursday, January 24, 2013 (Last Updated on 3/24/2019), Yujin wrote,

There is a kind of a puzzler in this reading, particularly with respect to the birth of Benjamin. Was Benjamin born before or after Joseph was sold into slavery?

We know that Joseph was a "young man of seventeen" when he was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:1). He was thirty when he became governor under Pharoah (Genesis 41:46). So thirteen years had transpired. It was the end of the second year of the famine (Genesis 45:6) when Joseph sees Benjamin and the Israelites move into Egypt. So another nine years (i.e. seven years of plenty plus two years of famine) had transpired. When Benjamin comes into Egypt, we are told that he already had ten children (Genesis 46:8,21).

Now, consider this. If Benjamin was born just when Joseph was sold into slavery, he would be twenty-two years old (i.e. thirteen years plus nine years) at the time he entered Egypt. Not that it was impossible for a twenty-two-year-old to already have ten children, it would seem highly unusual, especially in view of the fact that the other patriarchs on average married and had children when they were quite a bit older. Thus, this argues for Benjamin being born prior to Joseph being sold to slavery.

But then how are we to understand this Scripture:

Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age (Genesis 37:3).

If Joseph was loved because he was born to Jacob in his old age, wouldn't Benjamin have been even more loved, since Benjamin was even younger than Joseph (cf. Genesis 44:20)? This favors the argument that Benjamin was born after Joseph was sold into slavery. However, it may be that Jacob loved Joseph most because while he was not the youngest, he was the first-born of the two children his most loved wife, Rachel, bore to him. What is more, while Genesis does not always follow a strict chronology, the account of Rachel's death and Benjamin's birth in Genesis 35:16-20, which pre-date Joseph's story, suggest that Benjamin was aready born prior to his being sold into slavery.

There is another matter of Joseph's second dream that he tells to his brothers and father, namely, the one where the sun and the moon and eleven stars all bow down to him (Genesis 37:9-10). Jacob interprets this as referring to himself and Joseph's mother and eleven brothers. But if Benjamin was not yet born, Joseph would ony have had ten brothers. This suggests Benjamin was present prior to Joseph's being sold into slavery. Then again, Rachel died when Benjamin was born, so how could the moon represent his mother? But Jacob may have been referering to Leah, who was still living.

Now, when we come to Joseph's ruse, it is hard to tell truth from deception. So without trying to parse this out, let's consider what Joseph says to his brothers when all things are revealed:

You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you (Genesis 45:12).

Although only an inference, Joseph's statement here suggests that he expected recognition by all his brothers, including Benjamin. If Benjamin had not been born when Joseph was sold into slavery, how would there be any expectation of recognition? But if Benjamin, though young, was present when Joseph was sold into slavery, then the expectation of recognition might be understandable.

While all this might not greatly advance your spiritual walk, I hope that you will still appreciate this kind of analysis, which we do because or our high regard of even the details in Scripture. Doesn't this also put greater weight to Joseph's ruse? If Joseph was so abused because he was the favorite son of their father's favorite wife, Rachel, it would make sense that he would try to discern whether they would treat his biological brother, the other son of Rachel, the same way. But when they were wiling to give their own lives for the sake of the boy, Joseph knew that his brothers had changed their ways.

We speak of how Joseph is a type of Christ, but can we also see a Christ-like lesson here with respect to substitutionary and sacrificial love by the brothers for the sake of Benjamin, their youngest?

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 (Last Updated on 1/24/2022), Yujin wrote,

Joseph clearly tells his brothers, "Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God." (Genesis 45:8). Were his brothers, thereby, guiltless? No. They were still guilty of their jealousy, their murderous intentions, and their selling Joseph into slavery. But, you may wonder, how could they be guilty if it was God, who made them do it? It is as the Proverb says, 

The plans of the heart belong to man, 
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD (Proverbs 16:1).


The mind of man plans his way, 
But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

The brothers are responsible for their sins, but God used their already sinful inclination to accomplish His purposes. 

Why did Joseph go through that entire drama of sending his brothers back and forth and hiding his identity from them? Was it not to see if they had learned their lesson? 

In the same way, we read in Acts 4:27-28,

For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

God had predestined Jesus' crucifixion. He had even planned for Judas, the priests, Herod, Pilate, and everyone else that were participating in this event. Were they still guilty? Yes. Did God plan it and bring it about even before they were born? Yes. God's sovereignty does not negate human responsibility. The fact that God planned and used the already sinful nature of man to accomplish His purposes does not justify the sinfulness of those that were so used.

There is a famous French movie titled La Femme Nikita, where a lady condemned to die for her crimes is instead allowed to live to serve her government. She faces death at every turn and is used to assassinate those the government deems undesirable. But she is reminded that her work for the government does not excuse her of her crime, but she would live as long as she continued to serve her purpose. It is an imperfect analogy, but perhaps you can get the picture.

Human beings are born into this world with a sinful nature and by virtue of our Adamic heritage, born condemned, and every day of our sinful lives will only confirm the reality of that sinful heritage. Now, as we collectively race toward the proverbial cliff, God graciously saves some of us. Others He delays their fateful end so that He might use them to show the greatness of His power, the depth of His goodness, and the wonders of His grace. And the rest, whether sooner or later, follow their unfettered path to death. This is the biblical, human story. It is not how I might write it, but who am I? soli deo gloria!

Passage: Genesis 43-45

On Monday, January 24, 2011, Sherry wrote,
Joseph's life shows us that God is in control no matter what we see beyond the immediate situation. God new what was happening years earlier when Joseph was sold into slavery. Years later Jacob and his sons had no relief from the famine. They could not see God's overall plan of sending them to Egypt to be reunited with Joseph & fed from Egypt's storehouses. When prayers are not answered as soon as we like just trust God because He may be leading us to something special!